BY SUSAN MCTIGUE
CLOSTER, N.J. –– The borough has benefited from a record number of Eagle Scout projects this year that have enhanced the borough enormously. The most recent was dedicated on Saturday, Oct. 28, when scout Tommy Nyfenger of Troop 63 presented the St. Francis Prayer Garden on the grounds of St. Mary’s Church on Legion Place in Closter. The circular garden is located to the north of the church’s main entrance and includes an altar and five benches donated in memory of former parishioners.
Tommy explained that he started a youth group at St. Mary’s and feels that the project became a joint effort with many others, including the support and blessing of the Rev. Joseph Scarangella, known as Father Joe, and those who donated time, services, materials and construction lessons. The landscaping was provided by Lupardi’s Nursery in Closter and Matera Garden and Nursery Center in Ridgefield. John McCaffrey of Alpine Gardens taught Tommy and his helpers the art of laying paver stones, with Gianni Adamo of Adamo Brothers Construction acting as the contractor. Many others, including volunteers at St. Mary’s, Troop 63’s scouts and leaders, parents and family members, all contributed to the prayer garden’s completion.
The Knights of Columbus Queen of Peace Council 3679 also played a role in Tommy’s project. In June, they had installed a memorial stone honoring those who died serving the country, along with a new flagpole that now flies both the American flag and the papal flag. Since Tommy was involved then in creating the peace garden just a few feet away, it was decided to join forces with Troop 63 and include the flagpole and stone in the project.
Tommy says he looks forward to the many years when the peace garden will be a place where outdoor masses can be held in good weather and where the annual October Blessing of the Animals can be held, most appropriate given the spirit of St. Francis.
“This garden is open to all, not just parishioners of St. Mary’s, and is a place for people to sit and have some quiet time in a natural setting,” Tommy said.
His mother, Kim, along with his father, Paul and siblings Dan, Franky, Susie and Charlie, expressed their joy in having this special day come to fruition after a year’s worth of planning and hard work.